Folau doubtful for Ferns

Maria Folau in action for the Silver Ferns last night against the All Stars. Photo: Getty Images
Maria Folau may have played her last game for the Silver Ferns. Photo: Getty Images
The Silver Ferns could be without the services of veteran shooter Maria Folau in the upcoming Nations Cup.

The New Zealand Herald understands that Folau is in doubt to feature in today's team naming for the side set to face England, Jamaica and South Africa in January.

Having not re-signed with a club in New Zealand or Australia for the 2020 domestic season, the Nations Cup was expected to be Folau's final outing in the black dress.

It now looks increasingly likely that the Silver Ferns' final Constellation Cup game in Perth in October – Folau's 150th test - was her last.

Silver Ferns captain Laura Langman was seen in tears when she talked of Folau's milestone in the wake of the fourth game, speaking as if her teammate had already told the side her time on the court was done.

In an interview, prior to the 2019 Netball World Cup, Folau confirmed her career was "very close to the end".

Folau has been a mainstay of the Silver Ferns since her debut against Jamaica in 2005 and was a member of the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning sides.

She also played a crucial role in leading the Silver Ferns to 2019 World Cup glory in July.

It's been a tough year off the court for Folau with her husband Israel taking Rugby Australia to court after his contract was terminated over his controversial homophobic social media posts.

The former Wallaby recently settled his explosive legal dispute with the national body for a confidential amount.

Folau's potential on-court absence could open the door sooner for a host of upcoming shooters.

New Zealand's leading netballers had a shot at impressing head coach Noeline Taurua at last week's Super Club tournament in Nelson, with all six ANZ Premiership teams contesting the event.

Shooters Maia Wilson, Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Aliyah Dunn, who have all made appearances for the Ferns but struggled to earn significant court time, could be set to contest Folau's spot.

Meanwhile, young shooter Grace Nweke looks on track to earn her first game in the black dress after another impressive campaign with the Mystics.

The Silver Ferns Nations Cup squad is being named today at 1pm.

- Cheree Kinnear

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